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eBrief from

Cathy Jamieson MP
23 April 2012 5th December 2011 Budget is an Omnishambles

I also voted against the changes in Personal Allowance which brings in the Granny Tax which will see, from next April, pensioners who pay income tax losing on average 83 a year while all those earning over 150,000 get their tax cut and 14,000 millionaires stand to be better off by 40,000 a year! This is the wrong priority whilst the Government is pressing ahead with changes which will mean the average family is going to be 511worse off this year.

VAT plans under attack

Times are really tough right now, so its all the more important that Government make the right choices to make sure families, pensioners and those who work hard and do the right thing are supported. Sadly, the botched Budget from the Chancellor has made things worse, as three days of debate on the Finance Bill showed last week. Leading for the opposition on the debate on the Govts plans for Child Benefit, on Wednesday, I highlighted how thousands of families will now require to fill in self assessment tax forms, to see if their Child benefit will be clawed back if one earner pays higher rate tax. The planned system is fraught with problems and leaves the ridiculous situation where a couple with one earner on 60k and another on 10k lose all their child benefit, whereas a couple where each earns 50k keeps it all! I called for the Govt to look again at their plans, but despite a number of Govt MPs rebelling, the vote was carried. I was also at the Despatch Box leading for the Opposition in opposing the Governments plans for the pasty tax, and added VAT on static caravans, hairdressers chairs and some building work on churches and listed buildings.

Using the famous Killie Pie as an example, I challenged the Government to explain how they would decide on what would legally constitute a hot takeaway snack. I also pointed out that the plan to add VAT to hairdressers chair rental would once again hit hardest on

women particularly those at the start of their careers, or who are working part time because of family commitments. We managed to persuade a significant number of Govt backbenchers to rebel on the votes, although not enough to stop the plans at this stage. The issues will continue to be debated, and a Pasty Protest is scheduled to march on Downing Street!

UEF Pensioners visit Parliament

More Palestinian Child Prisoners

Questions to Foreign Office Ministers took place during Palestinian Prisoners Day. I raised the issue of the recent rapid rise in Palestinian children detained in prison, and questioned what representations had been made by the UK to Israel. The Foreign Office Minister responded with information, and confirmed that there were concerns about the treatment of these children, some of whom have allegedly been shackled and denied visits, in contravention of international law. Along with Sandra Osborne MP and shadow pensions Minister Gregg McClymont, I recently met with a delegation from the UEF pensioners action group, led by East Ayrshire resident Willie Riggans. Members lost out massively when the former Stampworks in Ayr went into Liquidation, and although the previous Government stepped in to assist, there are still ongoing legal battles being fought.

Manufacturing Excellence 2012

Manufacturing is the economic backbone to the UK and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers we are committed to helping UK manufacturing and innovation thrive. The Institution is on the
lookout for the UKs top manufacturing businesses and is offering companies the chance to win free consultancy to help them realise their full potential.

Make it Kilmarnock Board Meeting

At the regular Board meeting we received an update on plans for the new Kilmarnock College Campus; a report on what has happened to the Johnnie Walker workforce; and a proposal for branding and marketing. Along with other Board members, I raised the need to tackle owners of vacant premises in the town centre to keep premises in good order and the need for a lasting legacy from Diageo which includes job creation for the town.

Last years winners included mechanical seals manufacturer AESSEAL, transit packaging manufacturer Loadhog, train manufacturer Bombardier and Agfa Graphics.

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